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Last week I was watching a TV show. During a dialog, one character asked the other something like "So how long will it take you to do it" and the answer was simply "6 to 8 weeks".

This led me to believe Jeff was just using a known meme and just applying it here, over five years ago but all my searches utterly failed and pointed on this very meta post as the origin of the meme.

  1. Searching just for 6 to 8 weeks without quotes or anything:

    First out of nearly two billion results. Nice.

  2. Searching for "6 to 8 weeks" with quotes, same just with less total results:

Then I found this post, an interview with ERIK WERNQUIST who is the creator of Crazy Frog:

How much time did it take in the beginning to program it?

The first animation I did at my spare time. I worked about 6 to 8 weeks on building the character and making the first animation

Coincidence, fate or something that Jeff read and later used himself? :)

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It originated with JeffAtwood, during the development of Stack Overflow. Beta was said to be 6 to 8 weeks out; needless to say he missed that target. –  Martijn Pieters Jul 28 '13 at 9:20
    
@Martijn might be! Anyway found a bug in markup, can't format the quote properly. Will investigate further later. :) –  Shadow Wizard Jul 28 '13 at 9:21
    
@Sha: repro & fix for the formatting misbehavior: meta.stackexchange.com/a/181300/158667 - not sure what part of that is a bug. I'd say the way you formatted the image quotes isn't kosher, and I'm surprised that part works. –  Mat Jul 28 '13 at 9:47
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as far as I can tell, this dates back to at least 1989, Muppet babies episode 603: Six-to-Eight Weeks "The Babies anxiously await the arrival of a playhouse that Nanny ordered for them, which was supposed to arrive in six to eight weeks..." –  gnat Jul 28 '13 at 10:11
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@gnat valid candidate for an answer! :-) –  Shadow Wizard Jul 28 '13 at 10:15
    
@Mat thanks, so the bug was the image was part of the list where it shouldn't be! :/ –  Shadow Wizard Jul 28 '13 at 10:16
    
@ShaWizDowArd there you go :) –  gnat Jul 28 '13 at 10:33
    
No. The first one (1, 86 0, 000) is definently a conspiracy theory. –  Cole Johnson Jul 28 '13 at 17:42
    
@Cole yep that's possible! –  Shadow Wizard Jul 28 '13 at 17:52
    
Should this question be merged into the Many memes of meta? –  Cole Johnson Jul 28 '13 at 19:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Searching web for six to eight weeks leads to Muppet Babies TV series, Episode 603: Six-to-Eight Weeks which sounds painfully familiar:

The Babies anxiously await the arrival of a playhouse that Nanny ordered for them, which was supposed to arrive in six to eight weeks...

http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20070205200441/muppet/images/5/52/MBTitle--6-to-8-Weeks.jpg

Muppet babies wiki says "Air Date September 30, 1989", about 20 years before Stack Overflow and several years before Crazy Frog. :)

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Until better (or official from Jeff Himself) answer will arrive, accepting this as the truth. :) –  Shadow Wizard Jul 28 '13 at 10:34

I can't prove that this is what Jeff had in mind, but cereal box mail-order prizes* like secret decoder rings or propeller beanies famously ask you to "please allow" "4-6 weeks", or "6-8 weeks" for delivery after sending away for them.

I've found two mentions of that specific time frame:

http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0695/

...and Pac-Man vowed to never again make kids wait 6-8 weeks for four pieces of colored hard plastic.

http://thriftstorecowboyvintage.com/fun-stuff/a-brief-history-of-capn-crunch-cereal-toy-giveaways

Is it just me, or has the wait for mail in offers increased from 6-8 weeks to 10-12?

Far from conclusive, and I certainly don't want to take credit away from Jeff for promoting the meme, but these things have been around since the early part of the 20th century, and they're definitely an element of American culture. It's what I always think of when I hear this phrase (and I'd wager that it's where the Muppet Babies title came from, too, given the plot).


*Technically a "premium", apparently, if it isn't in the box to begin with.

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+1 for excellent research, but only Jeff can know for sure. :) –  Shadow Wizard Jul 28 '13 at 19:34

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